Barrel horse training is a challenging, rewarding experience for both you and your horse. Many horse enthusiasts are so focused on the training techniques; they forget to work on adjusting the horse’s behavior and making sure he’s on track to success. Ready to uplevel your horsemanship? Get some of our best tips about barrel horse training from the team at Between the Reins.

Praise Your Horse

Barrel horse training is hard work, and your horse craves praise for executing exercises correctly, as well as exhibiting proper behavior. You want your horse to learn to remain calm, determined, and focused without getting over-excited. They’re more likely to adopt the behavior you want when they get positive feedback like it’s second nature.

Make it Second Nature

Barrel horses can be feisty and give trainers a run for their money. But routine and practice go a long way in adjusting their behavior. Make their training and racing practice consistent and predictable, so they remain calm, even during distractions. The exception here is to occasionally mix up the routine so horses don’t get complacent; however, you’re still focused on using the same structure and foundation to your barrel horse training.

Show Him You’re in Control

Show your horse that you’re in control of the situation to keep him alert and following your cues. Remaining confident in the saddle and training is a good start. However, varying the training also shows the horse that you’re in the driver’s seat and calling the shots.

Pay Attention to Over-Excitability

Barrel horse training also requires a sharp eye on over-excitability. When horses are too excited or over-stimulated, they’re unlikely to remain under control and learn how to adjust. If your horse is exhibiting this type of behavior, scale back and revert to the previous day’s training until the horse appears confident and calm again.

Keep Your Horse Happy

Barrel horse training is thrilling but is easy to take over your entire focus. Remember your horse needs a variety of activities to be happy, like slow rides on trails and grazing with other animals. The goal is to create lifelong balance for you and your horse to make barrel racing an enjoyable experience. 

Continue Your Education on Training Barrel Horses

Training barrel horses is rooted in best practices and tried and proper techniques but also evolves. Even the pros are always learning new tips and resources that work for them and make training barrel horses more efficient and effective. Continue your education with a membership with Between the Reins for expert videos and training materials.